Baltimore Ravens: 5 Players Who Will Exceed Expectations in 2011
On Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens announced the final cuts, completing the team's 53-man roster.
As the Ravens shift their focus towards facing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, there are several players that will have unexpected performances.
Here are five players that will exceed expectations for the Baltimore Ravens in 2011.
5. Marshal Yanda
One aspect of the team that could hold the Ravens back this season is the offensive line, mainly the right side of the line.
However, Marshal Yanda has flown under the radar over the past two seasons and could help to anchor the right side of the line alongside Michael Oher.
Although Yanda missed the majority of training camp and the preseason due to a back injury, he should be ready to go and make an impact for the Week 1 game against the Steelers.
4. David Reed
With the addition of Anquan Boldin last season and then Lee Evans this season, the Baltimore Ravens seem to be set at the starting wide receiver position.
However, the third and fourth receiver positions are up in the air, with an open competition between David Reed, Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss. Reed had the most productive preseason of all of the backup receivers and will likely earn the third receiver role.
If Reed can continue to display the speed and ball skills that he showed during the preseason, he could have a breakout year.
3. Jason Phillips
No player had a more eye-opening preseason finale for the Baltimore Ravens than Jason Phillips.
Phillips recorded an interception in the first half and then added a fumble recovery near the end of the game.
Although Phillips hasn't truly contributed to the Ravens so far in his career, he could have a breakout year in 2011. Phillips will have an opportunity to get some playing time at linebacker, as well as on special teams.
2. Pernell McPhee
If any Baltimore Ravens rookie player is going to have a breakout year, it's going to be Pernell McPhee.
The rookie defensive end had an outstanding preseason, as he received more playing time than any other defensive lineman.
If McPhee plays like he did in the preseason, he could find himself on the field in third-down situations, replacing starting defensive end Cory Redding, who at some points in his Ravens tenure has not played up to the caliber of a starting defensive end.
1. Cary Williams
One position that has held back the Baltimore Ravens over the past few years is the secondary, particularly the cornerback position.
However, the Ravens have a plethora of cornerbacks this year, including Cary Williams.
The National Football Post reported yesterday that Williams will likely be a starting cornerback when the Ravens line up against the Steelers on Sunday.
Williams' size and instinct for the football will help him this year and by the end of the season he will have separated himself from the rest of the cornerbacks on the Ravens roster.